New York | 2h 15m | Already closed

The Gin Game

From 40 critic and 205 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Absorbing

About the show

Tony winners James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson return to Broadway in this Pulitzer winner about strangers who become friends over gin rummy, until their games become a battleground of exposed failures and insecurities. More…

This Pulitzer Prize-winning play follows Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, two residents at a nursing home for senior citizens, who strike up a friendship over games of gin rummy. As their competitive spirit grows, each of their lengthy conversations about their families and their lives becomes a battle. Much like the ongoing gin games, each player tries to expose the other's weaknesses, to belittle the other's life, and to humiliate the other thoroughly. James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson come together on stage for the first time since 1966 in this revival.

2h 15m | Already closed | The John Golden Theatre (Midtown W)

DC Metro Theater Arts

"The writing is exemplary, but the cast of two elevates it into the realm of poetry...Leonard Foglia as director has guided all these gifted artists through this two-hander, with the result that we leave the theatre enriched and fully satisfied. More than satisfied, aglow...I highly recommend you plan to visit this home for the aged soon. It will add years to your life." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"James Earl Jones and Cecily Tyson are an absolute delight as they spar whimsically over their cards. Both getting older themselves, they haven’t lost any theatrical spice...Effortless and sincere, this is a production to be seen, you’ll hardly even realize any time has passed and the curtain call comes almost as quickly as you’ve taken you’re seat. I dare you not to have a pumpkin grin from ear to ear as Jones and Tyson take their curtain call." Full Review


"Critics have contended that 'The Gin Game' is a gimmick that relies too much on such memorably starry performances. The acting really is magnificent but Leonard Foglia's smart direction helps to draw out Coburn's underlying themes, proving this play to be much more than a mere card trick...'The Gin Game' is a not-to-be-missed theatrical event, not just for the opportunity to witness two living legends at work, but to see them put their craft toward a story that really matters in 2015 America." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"The verdict? It’s wonderful. Reunited almost 50 years after sharing the Broadway stage, the two friends are back together in this poignant and funny two hander that is sure to please the most finicky theatergoer...Leonard Foglia’s direction is as first rate as his cast. I doubt that I will be the only critic to call them theatrical 'treasures', but I’m pretty sure that if I look up the word in a thesaurus, I’ll see the names James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson.” Full Review


"Director Leonard Foglia has stitched his two star performers into a positively densely woven tapestry of built up laughs, and bitter moments, and just plain bitter, so that you laugh all the harder after you’ve gulped a few times. James Earl Jones is a marvel of hilarity spun out of sadness, and loneliness ,and curmudgeonness, and you ache for him...It’s a funny, funny show. But it’s a heart wringer." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"It’s safe to say that there will not be a better performance than what Jones and Tyson present here. It’s said that great actors working together is like watching a fine tennis match. Perhaps from now on, we should say it’s like a superb gin game." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Despite it being obvious that Weller and Fonsia need each other, Mr. Coburn finds obstacles to their realizing this; his plotline may be thin, his material may seem repetitive, he could trim the running time a bit, and his ending isn’t satisfactory, but the playwright’s skill at keeping the dramatic ball in the air as the characters work out their issues keeps the audience sharply focused over the course of two acts and nearly two hours. Like it or not, that alone makes a visit worthwhile." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"The two characters in 'The Gin Game' do little more than play card games and, once, (spoiler alert) dance. But they’re portrayed by James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson – with some 130 years of acting experience between them – and that’s enough to turn this Broadway revival into a stellar outing at the theater." Full Review

The New York Times

"Despite its comic overtones, 'The Gin Game' presents a clarifying portrait of the loneliness that may come with age, and the difficulties of forging a relationship when our personalities have quite naturally become calcified by experience. As the moving performances of Mr. Jones and Ms. Tyson bear out, playing the hands we are dealt with equanimity is much easier when we are still sure that there will be many more hands to play." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Under Leonard Foglia’s direction, Tyson and Jones hit all the right notes of charming, amusing, ornery and scary. Along the way Jones and Tyson hold you, like the cards, in the palm of their hands." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"What a joy to be alive in a time when we can see acting titans James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson onstage together! Their mano a mano in 'The Gin Game' is among the most electrifying in recent theatre...Expertly directed by Leonard Foglia, this production is notable for its sparseness...The play never tries to preach or teach lessons, but to serve as foreshadowing, a cautionary tale even." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Comedy may not all be in the timing, but a large part of it is and James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson give an acting master class in it in a delightful revival of 'The Gin Game...' In the hands of Jones and Tyson, they are simply lost, lonely souls for whom one ends up feeling great sympathy and kinship and wish you could see every Visitor's Day at that old-folks home." Full Review

Epoch Times

"This play could have easily been written last year, instead of almost three decades ago. Best of all is the way Jones and Tyson beautifully play off each other...The tension in the story rises and falls throughout as Leonard Foglia directs the proceedings with a subtle touch, letting the two stars take command of the piece. Yet Foglia never lets the actors or their personalities overwhelm the characters." Full Review


"One doesn’t necessarily see it for content but for the incredible actors and actresses...Leonard Foglia, the director, has matched them well and paced them accordingly to give them characterizations. The new fall season has just started and there are lots of fine actors giving good performances, but I doubt that you will see greater ones than what Mr. Jones and Ms Tyson are displaying." Full Review

Center on the Aisle

"D.L. Coburn’s 1978 Pulitzer Prize award winner, 'The Gin Game,' deals another winning hand. For the first time in nearly fifty years, legendary actors James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson are sharing the Broadway stage. The audience’s reception confirms that it’s a timeless play worth rehashing." Full Review


"If 'The Gin Game' is a little thin on plot to fill out its two acts, it serves splendidly as a star vehicle for beloved senior actors. There's nothing unexpected about the performances of Tyson and Jones, but they play their hands beautifully and when the script calls for them to hesitantly hold each other in a slow dance, there's not an unmelted heart in the house." Full Review


"It’s not exactly a great play but author D.L. Coburn did pen a couple of great roles. I'm happy to report the revival has yet another pair of aces up its sleeve...What makes 'Gin Game' such a treat is watching these two consummate veterans deliver incredibly calibrated performances in what must be a very difficult play for actors of any age...I cannot say enough about Jones and Tyson. Despite their advanced age, on the big stage, they are eternally young!" Full Review

The Associated Press

"One thing you should probably not bet against is the little old lady onstage who seems to have supernatural luck with cards. Another is the two-person cast, James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson — actors still performing at the highest level despite their combined age of 174. You might wonder if there's something supernatural at work there, too...Handsome and beautifully acted revival." Full Review

American Theater Web

"Coburn’s gentle play brims with humor...The play also has genuine heart...Watching as these two warily embark on a late life friendship---letting their guards down with one another---proves to be immensely satisfying and touching. Similarly, Leonard Foglia has directed this two-hander with economy and breeziness." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"If you think you're about to hear anything critical of the two old pros James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, you better think again. They're well nigh perfect...The play is no worse for wear. Whether it was ever a flawless piece of writing is less certain...By the time the second act ends, it's become too much a repetition of the first." Full Review

AM New York

"'The Gin Game' is a nice little play about an unlikely friendship, and Leonard Foglia's revival is generally pleasant. Showing strong chemistry, Jones and Tyson make fine sparring partners. With pitch-perfect delivery, Jones digs into every line with fervor, booming bombast and an endearingly cranky spirit, while Tyson has a warm presence and navigates her character's dramatic moments with aplomb." Full Review


"Lonesome and raw revival...Jones and Tyson, it will surprise no one, make for lively sparring partners...'The Gin Game,' it turns out, has little to do with cards. Rather, it examines the narratives we fabricate in order to tolerate the relentless sadness that piles up with passing decades." Full Review


"It’s true what they say about bona fide stars like Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones — they could indeed hold us spellbound simply by reading the New York telephone book. Not that 'The Gin Game' is as insubstantial as the contents of the phone book. But despite having won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, this two-hander really is a slip of a thing, elevated to dramatic art by captivating Broadway performances from two of the most enchanting actors you’d ever hope to see on the same stage." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"The magic of people like Jones and Tyson comes from their ability to keep your gaze on them even when little else around them does. Even if the rest of 'The Gin Game' stalls, at delivering that essential theatrical element, Jones and Tyson are an unvarnished success." Full Review


"Under Leonard Foglia’s sensitive direction, the actors give their all to an almost-good play...Jones is more tentative here than usual, more halting in his speeches, more brittle than we expect Weller to be. Several exchanges faltered because of that, losing the snap necessary, and as a result, the play seemed even more schematic and predictable than I’d remembered. Still, there’s great pleasure in seeing these two masters duking it out over a card table. Call it a straight flush, if not qui... Full Review

Great acting, Funny, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you want to savour a captivating and enjoyable acting from two of the most fabulous actors in showbiz!

Don't see it if I can't think of why you would not want to see these acting legends in a great show

Masterful, Resonant, Great acting, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if Well, it's no longer playing, but James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson were superb

Don't see it if You don't like listening to Jones' booming voice as he deals the cards for multiple games. I could listen to him recite the directory.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Romantic, Thought-provoking

See it if Only two actors in this show... both masters of their craft. I listened intently and was moved by their performances.

Don't see it if Youre looking for bright lights, costumes, excitement.

Resonant, Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if you want to see two legendary actors at the best.

Don't see it if it' not on Broadway ;)

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if like an absorbing and entertaining play

Don't see it if you don't like good acting

Relevant, Profound, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you love great acting

Don't see it if you don't like small productions with a slow moving story

Exquisite, Enchanting, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if The show was absolutely fantastic.

Don't see it if You are looking for a concert.

Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you want to see an American classic performed by two icons of American theater! Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones are not to be missed!!

Don't see it if you are looking for a musical.

Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if You want the opportunity to see two iconic actors ply their craft on the Broadway stage.

Don't see it if There are no reasons not to see "The Gin Game."

Refreshing, Funny, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you want a good laugh

Don't see it if you only like musicals

Epic, Masterful, Must see, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You want to see two legends mesmerize you for a few hours

Don't see it if You can't handle the deep thoughts of what life can become when you get older

Must see, Masterful, Great acting, Absorbing, Delightful

See it if you are a fan of James Earl Jones or Cicely Tyson

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with end of life issues

Historic, Milestone, Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You are interested in a play that has entered the American theatre's littany of classic plays.

Don't see it if You are not a tried and true theatre buff.

Also Seeing Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones together in a play that I rem... Read more Read less

Riveting, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Hilarious, Enchanting

See it if you enjoy masterful performances and are prepared to laugh. From start to finish I was enchanted by Tyson and Jones.

Don't see it if you are looking for grand theatre, or are uncomfortable with explorations of the aging, and their lives.

Must see, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if Iconic actors who are magical together

Don't see it if You just don't know good acting

Delightful, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you adore watching two redoubtable actors of legendary status have the time of their lives verbally sparring with one another.

Don't see it if slightly dated material and a somewhat predictable plot get under your skin.

Great acting, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if you want to see to pros at the top of their game make acting look so effortless and easy.

Don't see it if you don't like topics and themes about the elderly.

Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Funny, Great acting

See it if You want to experience a realistic and funny drama between two living legends .

Don't see it if You're more of the musical type.

Suprising, Masterful, Great acting, Funny

See it if you are ready for a Master Class in acting from a 90 years young and her 84 years young counterpart

Don't see it if you're not ready to see older people as people and no just cute - yes there is cursing

Thought-provoking, Masterful, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Two legends....that's not enough?!

Don't see it if you should see it.

Funny, Enchanting, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy great acting. It's a two-hander about two senior citizens who meet, and the co-dependent relationship that develops between them.

Don't see it if a quiet, slowly-paced show with a small cast, a simple set and very little story underwhelms you.

Masterful, Great acting, Exquisite, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You have a desire to be entertained by legendary actors.

Don't see it if GO SEE IT.

Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if You want to see two veteran pro's put on a fantastic play.

Don't see it if You are looking for a musical, an action piece, or have a short attention span. Otherwise, I'd recommend this show to most people.

Masterful, Great acting, Funny, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You want to see two great actors command the stage. James Earl Jones is masterful

Don't see it if You are looking for a light musical

Must see, Masterful, Great acting

See it if You want to see two titans of the theatre! James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson are astounding.

Don't see it if You are sensitive to stories about old age.